How to Recycle Cans [5 Easy Methods]

It’s no secret that recycling is good for the environment. But did you know that recycling aluminum cans specifically can have a profound impact on conserving our natural resources?

Aluminum cans are 100% recyclable, meaning they can be recycled over and over again. In fact, recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours! Here are some tips on how you can recycle your aluminum cans.

Why You Should Recycle Aluminum Cans

Reduce Pollution and Save Energy

The process of mining and refining aluminum ore emits greenhouse gases and other pollutants. In fact, manufacturing a single aluminum can generates about 0.09 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent. Recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours or run a laptop for four hours. So, by recycling your aluminum cans, you’re not only reducing pollution but also conserving energy.

Preserve Natural Resources

It takes about 95% less energy to recycle an aluminum can than it does to make one from scratch. And since aluminum is infinitely recyclable, recycling your cans ensures that these valuable resources will be available for future generations. In fact, over 75% of all the aluminum ever produced is still in use today.

Create Jobs and Boost the Economy

Recycling supports 1.1 million jobs in the United States alone. These jobs range from collecting and sorting recyclables to manufacturing new products from recycled materials. What’s more, every ton of aluminum recycled generates $1,200 in economic activity—so recycling your cans really does help boost the economy.

How To Prepare Aluminum Cans For Recycling

So you want to start recycling - high fives! It's as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Rinse out your aluminum cans before recycling them. This will help to remove any food or drink residue that might be clinging to the can.

2. If your municipality has a separate bin for recycling aluminum cans, make sure to place them in that bin. Otherwise, place them in your regular recycling bin.

3. If you have a lot of aluminum cans, you can recycle them at a local recycling center. Most centers will pay you for your recyclable materials by weight.

Bonus Step - You can also upcycle your aluminum cans into new and useful objects! Check out some DIY tutorials online to get started, or just scroll down for some tips I suggest.

5 Easy Methods For Recycling Your Aluminum Cans

Make a Pencil Holder

All you need is a tin can, some paint, and some imagination. Simply remove the label from the can and give it a quick wash. Once it’s dry, let your creativity flow and paint the can however you’d like! Once your design is complete, let the paint dry, and voila - you have a brand new pencil holder for your desk.

If painting isn't your thing - go sticker crazy instead!

Upcycle it Into a Vase

This one is perfect for those who enjoy flowers but don’t want to spend a lot of money on a vase. Start by giving your tin can a good wash and removing the label. Next, use a hammer and nail to make two holes in the top of the can (on opposite sides) for your flower stems. Once your holes are made, place your flowers inside and enjoy!

Create a Unique Piece of Art

If you’re looking for a more creative way to reuse your tin cans, why not turn them into works of art? This project is perfect for anyone who enjoys painting, drawing, or crafting. Again, start by removing the label and washing the can. Once it’s dry, start manipulating however you’d like; just be careful if you're cutting the tin. Use multiple cans like lego blocks to create epic art like those found on Trendhunter.

Use it as Planter

This is a great way to recycle tin cans AND add some greenery to your space! Start by giving your can(s) a good wash and removing the label(s). Once they’re dry, use a hammer and nail to make drainage holes in the bottom of each can. Next, fill your can with potting soil and add your favorite plant or flower! Be sure to water regularly and enjoy your new mini garden.

Repurpose it Into a Keychain Holder

Are you always misplacing your keys? If so, this project is for you! All you need is a tin can (washed and label-free), some scissors, and super glue. First, use the scissors to cut out two small pieces from the side of the can (these will be used as handles for your keychain).

Next, use super glue to attach one handle to each side of the can opening (make sure they’re facing inwards so that your keys will fit inside). Let the glue dry completely before adding your keys and voila - you have yourself a nifty new keychain holder!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many reasons to recycle your aluminum cans rather than throwing them away in the trash. So next time you finish that soda or beer, make sure to recycle the can or reuse it.

The former is beyond easy, and the latter provides endless ways to reuse tin cans - all you need is a little imagination! Whether you upcycle them into vases or repurpose them into keychain holders, these ideas are sure to help reduce waste and add some personality to your space!

It’s good for you, good for the environment, and good for the economy!

If you're a new recruit to the Zero Waste Movement, or could some more information on the do's and dont's of recycling, check out our article on the 5 R's of Zero Waste to up your understanding and help you on your journey to sustainable living!


linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram